Legion season 1 recap
Struggling to recall what happened in the mind-bending first run of Legion? With season 2's arrival, let our recap help you out...
Contains major spoilers for Legion season 1 (obviously!).
FOX’s mind-melting, X-Men-adjacent Legion TV series is returning soon. Hurrah! It would be something of an understatement to say that we’re really looking forward to the return of Dan Stevens’ David Haller, Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny and Noah Hawley’s truly terrific writing.
However, by the time that Legion season 2 kicks off (its American premiere date of April 3rd will be followed by a UK debut on April 17th), it will be over a year since Legion season 1 came to its brain-bothering conclusion. That’s a long time to wait, especially when the first season was so full of twists, turns and false memories.
If you are struggling to remember exactly how season 1 played out… fear not! We’ve put together a primer, to prepare you for Legion season 2 by recapping everything that went down in Legion season 1…
Legion’s first instalment, Chapter 1, was a barmy beauty of a pilot episode. The present day narrative segment of the episode saw Stevens’ David tied to a chair in a swimming pool being interrogated by government officials, recapping the weird way that he got there.
David explained to his captors (and the viewers at home) that he had been diagnosed as schizophrenic at a young age. Years later, after a suicide attempt, he was put into Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital. There he met Syd (Rachel Keller), a fellow mutant who soon became his girlfriend. Syd had an aversion to being touched, and the audience soon learned why.
When Syd was being discharged from Clockworks, she and David kissed. This, due to Syd’s powers, caused her and David to switch bodies. David’s mind left Clockworks in Syd’s body, while Syd’s mind in David’s body remained inside the facility. Freaking out due to shocking situation and her sudden inheritance of David’s incredibly volatile abilities, Syd caused rather a lot of havoc at Clockworks. Doors were replaced with walls, and Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) was killed.
David later realised that he was back in his proper body. But the government soon captured him, and took David to the swimming pool place to be interrogated. With all of that backstory neatly explained, Syd and numerous other mutants fought their way into the swimming pool to free David and kick some arse.
In Chapter 2, we learn that Syd and the other rescuers took David to a mutant-friendly facility named Summerland, which is run by Melanie Bird (Jean Smart). On Melanie’s staff are memory expert Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris), science chap Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin), and ass-kicker Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder). Kerry happens to live inside of Cary, and she only pops out when the situation calls for it.
Melanie explains her theory that David isn’t mad. His ‘illness’ is actually just his telekinetic and telepathic powers, which are mighty hard to control. Melanie explains that David’s captors from last week are ‘Division 3’, a shady government group obsessed with mutants. Melanie offers to look after David and help him get a handle on his abilities.
David submits to ‘memory work’ with Ptonomy. Ptonomy delves into David’s memories and sees a lot of messed up stuff: a childhood version of David, who was terrified by a book entitled The World’s Angriest Boy In The World; also, an adult David who took drugs with Lenny, prior to Clockworks, in order to drown out the voices in his head.
Melanie decides to put David in an MRI machine to work out the secrets of his head. David projects his mind over to Clockworks, only to see that Division 3 have kidnapped his sister, Amy (Katie Aselton). In a panic, David teleports the MRI machine out of the Summerland building and into its garden. David wants to run off and save his sister, but Syd convinces him to stay at Summerland and work on his powers.
In Chapter 3, Ptonomy and Melanie continue to delve into David’s mind. Again, things go bad, and David’s mind fights back with scary apparitions.
In one particularly out-of-control moment, David mentally projects himself and Syd into a Division 3 facility. They see that David’s sister is being interrogated by a chap named Walter, aka The Eye, a mutant that founded Summerland with Cary, Melanie and her husband.
Melanie decides to sedate David so his mind will be easier to explore. This backfires spectacularly, as David’s mind conjures an apparition of The World’s Angriest Boy In The World to chase Melanie and company around – inside David’s head – in terrifying fashion.
David’s mind ultimately forces Melanie and the others out. David’s subconscious is not playing ball, and nobody can really trust any of the memories they’ve seen in his twisted mindscape.
In Chapter 4, David doesn’t immediately wake up from the sedation. His mind is trapped in the astral plane with Oliver Bird, Melanie’s husband, who is played in spectacular style by Jemaine Clement. Oliver’s mind has been trapped here for years, and he has plenty of eccentricities to show for it.
Meanwhile, Ptonomy and Kerry head over to meet Philly (David’s ex-girlfriend, played by Ellie Araiza). The mutants delve into her memories, learning in the process that David’s pre-Clockworks drug buddy was a bloke named Benny, not a woman named Lenny. They also explore the office of David’s therapist (or rather, Philly’s memory of it).
Ptonomy and Kerry decide to visit the therapist in real life, but Division 3 are one step ahead of them. They head to the lighthouse where the therapist abides, only to be ambushed by The Eye and his Division 3 goons. David, encouraged by an apparition of Lenny, breaks out of the astral plane and saves his friends at the lighthouse. The Eye shoots Kerry.
In Chapter 5, back at Summerland, Cary succeeds in healing Kerry. David explains Oliver’s predicament to Melanie. David also shows off his newfound mastery off all things astral, creating an astral room where he and Melanie can get physical without her powers interfering. This newly confident David leaves Summerland and takes the fight to Division 3.
David brutally murders a lot of Division 3 staff, showcasing again his newfound mastery of his powers. Looking at David’s mind scans, Cary expresses his belief that ‘The Devil With Yellow Eyes’ – a frequent feature of David’s twisted mindscape – is a mental parasite that is currently in control of David’s body.
David takes Amy to their childhood home. Amy reveals that David was adopted, providing a hint towards his ‘child of Professor X’ origin from the comics. Shortly after this, from within David’s head, the evil version of Lenny begins bragging about being in control of him.
The Eye, Syd and Melanie all catch up with David. The Eye shoots at David and Syd. David quickly sends his mind and Syd’s mind into his astral sex room. However, The Devil With Yellow Eyes is in there too, and he begins attacking Syd. David, in a panic, thrusts the entire group’s minds into an astral fantasy where Lenny is in charge of Clockworks, and the others are her patients.
Chapter 6 spends a lot of time in this shared hallucination. Lenny loves it, clearly relishing the opportunity to play therapist to rest of the main characters. Syd is the first to clock that something isn’t right in this weird version of reality, so Lenny puts her into a coma.
Oliver reaches out to Cary and guides him to the astral plane. Kerry goes looking for Cary around fake-Clockworks, and winds up being chased about by The Eye. Oliver reaches out to Melanie next, showing her the room – from the previous episode – where their physical bodies currently reside. In that room, time seems to have slowed down, and the bullets fired by The Eye have not yet reached David and Syd.
The being that looks like Lenny reveals herself to be a manifestation of The Devil With Yellow Eyes. Aubrey Plaza’s performance gets more awesome and creepy by the minute. Lenny locks David away within his own mind, showing again her control of the situation.
In Chapter 7, we finally get a real name for The Devil With The Yellow Eyes. Oliver explains that the parasite is Amahl Farouk, aka The Shadow King, a very powerful mutant they are both familiar with.
In a fun sequence involving some chalkboards, David – who’s still inside his own head – works out that his biological father had a fight with Farouk years ago. Farouk lost that fight, and David’s dad plonked David with an adoptive family to hide him from Farouk. The show stops agonisingly short of naming David’s dad as Charles Xavier, but the chalk man is drawn without hair. That’s something, right?
Meanwhile, Lenny (aka Farouk) attacks Syd, Kerry and The Eye within the Clockworks hallucination. The Eye is killed during this sequence, and his body dies in the real world as well. Farouk explains that he has been inside David’s mind since David was little, despite the best efforts of David’s dad.
Melanie, Cary and Oliver come up with a plan to influence the physical realm from the astral plane, moving a device of Cary’s invention onto David’s head. The device succeeds in locking Farouk away inside David’s mind. David wakes up in the real world just in time to stop the bullets. The group returns to Summerland, only for Division 3 to attack.
Hamish Linklater’s Clark – the guy who interrogated David in the pilot episode – returns in Chapter 8. Now badly burned thanks to David’s escape, Clark leads a group of Division 3 soldiers to Summerland. David easily bests them, using his powers to do so.
Despite Cary’s device, Farouk is gaining power within David’s head. Cary and Oliver attempt to remove the parasitical mutant. Farouk tells Syd that this process will kill David. Believing this, Syd kisses David, using her powers to transfer Farouk into her own body. Farouk soon jumps from Syd to Kerry, and uses her body to fight his way out of Summerland. David confronts Farouk, and forces the parasite out of Kerry.
Nobody realises, until it’s too late, that Farouk has transferred itself into Oliver’s body. Aubrey Plaza (still playing a representation of Farouk) and Jemaine Clement drive off together, heading south, raising awesome-yet-ambiguous possibilities for season 2. Clark agrees to work with the Summerland crew to bring down Farouk, hinting at an unlikely team-up to come.
In a post-credits scene, a small metallic orb flies up to David and zaps him. David is pulled into the orb, which hastily flies away from Summerland. Exactly who or what sent the orb, and where is taking David, remains to be seen…
Legion season 2 starts on FX in the US on Tuesday the 3rd of April.